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Farmer turned Teacher Gives the Priceless Gift of Education
Written By: Priscilla Sogah
Twelve years ago, a farmer named Hayford Otoo, noticed that more and more children from the village of Kokoado, Ghana were not in school – and that the rate of uneducated children was rising because the nearest school was three kilometers away. Parents weren’t allowing their children to walk such a long distance on their own and were often keeping them home until they reached age 10.
“What does the future hold for unschooled children?” He asked “Without education, it’s difficult for anyone to survive in an economy like ours.” Otoo said.
Although Otoo had only achieved a fourth grade education, and worked like most in his community as a cocoa farmer, he started a school in the village to enable local children to learn without having to walk such a long, and potentially dangerous, distance to school.
Otoo soon began to teach the community’s children at no cost from under a tree. The school took place every day and after a few months, the student population grew. With support from the village, a makeshift structure was constructed to accommodate all the students and Kokoado D/A Primary School was created.
Before long, enrollment soared and the lone teacher could no longer manage the number of students and their varied academic abilities. Otoo sent a letter to the district director for education asking for additional teachers to ensure that all children in Kokoado could attend a school in the village.
Although the request for teachers was granted, the school still lacked adequate classrooms: Kokoado D/A Primary school had only two classrooms with pupils of primary one, two, and three sharing a single classroom while students from primary four, five, and six shared the other.
CARE, with support from General Mills, has constructed an additional two-unit classroom block with an office to decongest the existing classrooms and provide an atmosphere that is conducive to teaching and learning.
Otoo’s gesture of kindness and goodwill has not only paved a way for children’s education but also has provided him with a second profession – teaching.